Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joseph Moxley, Ph.D.


Asynchronous collaboration, Ethnomusicology, Hypertext, Online writing, Wikipedia


Wiki is often perceived as representing a revolutionary break from conventional notions of authorship, writing, and textual history. Dialogues concerning Wiki tend to ignore the characteristics that Wiki shares with earlier forms of collaboration, particularly folk music. In both Wiki and folk music, content is often collectively shared and authored, even if specific individuals create and change the content. Many collaborators are anonymous, quasi-anonymous, or pseudo-anonymous, but the perception of this anonymity is, in both genres, problematic. Second, both Wiki documents and folk songs exist in the "Eternal Now," a seemingly perpetual state that makes these texts available for addition, division, or deletion. Both forms of text resist finality. Third, both forms of texts can involve complicated textual histories as they split and merge into versions and variants. The geographical spaces involved in this process influence the ultimate outcomes of each version and variant. Finally, much of the language used to describe Wiki can also be used to describe folk music.